Emmanuel Mané-Katz was born in 1894 in Kremenchug, now Ukraine. After studying in the Kiev and Vilnius schools of Fine Arts, he moved to Paris in 1913 with only 25 roubles. He studied in the studio of Cormon at the École des Beaux-Arts with Soutine, Krémègne and Kikoïne. In Paris, Mané-Katz met other important artists including Chagall and Picasso. He discovered the works of Rembrandt and also became influenced by the Fauves, especially Derain, and briefly by Cubism. In 1914, unable to join the French Foreign Legion (due to his short stature), he returned to Russia after the outbreak of the First World War. In 1917, after a trip to London, Mané-Katz was appointed professor at the Kharkiv Fine Art School. In 1919, he held solo exhibitions in Kharkiv, Rostov-on-Don and Tiflis (today Tbilisi). In 1921, he returned to Paris where he started to collect many Jewish art objects and gained French citizenship in 1927. In Paris he painted many works on the subject of life in the ghettos of Eastern Europe: rabbis and Talmudic students, fiddlers and drummers, comedians and beggars. He also painted a number of landscapes and flower studies. Between 1928 and 1937, he travelled to Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Lithuania. During the Second World War, he was arrested at Royan but managed to escape to New York where he remained for the rest of the war. Afterwards he settled in Paris and continued travelling during the last ten years of his life. He visited Israel, and travelled widely, returning to Paris in 1960. He died in Israel (which he viewed as his spiritual home) in 1962. He bequeathed his paintings and a large collection of Jewish ritual objects to the city of Haifa, which are now housed in the Mané-Katz Museum.